Post List

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:43 AM

Exomes and Rare Disorders: Baby Steps to Personalized Medicine

by Rick Scavetta in DNA Dude

A study published in this month’s issue of Nature Genetics may provide insight into the future techniques of personalized medicine.
The articles deals with technical advancements and a proof-of-principle study in identifying the causes underlying rare Mendelian disorders.

The techniques involved re-sequencing (another name for next-generation sequencing and massively parallel sequencing) of the exome. That is [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:32 AM

How we discovered that an attention drug successfully treats a fruit fly memory mutant

by Björn Brembs in

Blogging about one's own research always feels good: the amount of your work has accumulated enough to at least provide sufficient material for a story and some figures. It has passed the first hurdle of scientific scrutiny, peer review. On the other hand, now an exciting time begins: what will the colleagues say? Will people find the one major flaw that neither you, your co-authors, the people who proof-read the drafts before submission nor the reviewers caught? Will the results lead to new, ex........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 08:24 AM

Language Structure and Social Structure

by Sean Roberts in The Adventures of Auck

Lupyan & Dale's recent article shows that social structure (e.g. population size) affects linguistic change. But can this dynamic be extended back in time to help think about the evolution of language?... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 07:45 AM

Are you a maximiser or a satisficer?

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

How could looking for the best option make you less happy with your choice?... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 06:00 AM

Are military exercises compatible with the conservation of a threatened ecosystem?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

Covering over 1 million hectares across the United States, military bases sometimes encompass highly threatened ecosystems. For this reason, conservationists have been giving increased attention to military installations as potential places for conserving native biodiversity.

But with their intensive training exercises often involving explosions and heavy machinery, are military bases actually good for conservation?... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 04:20 AM

…..And the rocks melt wi’ the sun

by Niall in we are all in the gutter

Happy Burns Day everybody. While I contemplate my failure to acquire a haggis and some Irn Bru in Honolulu, I thought I may as well find a tenuous link between Burns and astronomy.... Read more »

Schröder, K., & Connon Smith, R. (2008) Distant future of the Sun and Earth revisited. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 386(1), 155-163. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13022.x  

  • January 25, 2010
  • 02:45 AM

The Neuroscience of Jazz

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Improvisation is the main feature of Jazz that distinguishes it from other forms of music making. Improvisation is the spontaneous musical performance within a relevant musical context. It consists of novel melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical elements. This unique feature of jazz offers the opportunity for neurobiological research or even creativity. What they did was [...]

Related posts:Bill Evans the most influential pianists in modern jazz As written elsewhere on this blog: Dr Shock is........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 01:45 AM

More on Food Imports to Chaco

by teofilo in Gambler's House

The paper I discussed earlier about evidence that corn was imported to Chaco was interesting, but while it provided important information about the poorly understood “Mesa Verdean” period after the fall of the Chaco system it didn’t address the question of food imports during the operation of that system.  This has been a topic of [...]... Read more »

  • January 25, 2010
  • 01:20 AM

I'm not lying: Brain stimulation boosts people's deception skills

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

There's been so much excitement and hyperbole surrounding the promise of brain imaging as a lie detection technique, but what about the needs of the cads, thieves and vagabonds of this world? Has contemporary cognitive neuroscience nothing to offer them? It has now. In an exciting new development for fibbers everywhere, Ahmed Karim and his team have shown that the application of transcranial direct current stimulation over the anterior prefrontal cortex - the front bit of the brain - improves pe........ Read more »

Karim, A., Schneider, M., Lotze, M., Veit, R., Sauseng, P., Braun, C., & Birbaumer, N. (2009) The Truth about Lying: Inhibition of the Anterior Prefrontal Cortex Improves Deceptive Behavior. Cerebral Cortex, 20(1), 205-213. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhp090  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 08:31 PM

The Unreddening of Asteroids

by CM in The Iapetus Beat

Richard Binzel from MIT is the lead author of a new Nature paper titled Earth encounters as the origin of fresh surfaces on near-Earth asteroids (abstract only). They address a long-standing problem in meteoritics: why does the color of meteorites found on Earth so rarely match that of asteroids in the Main Belt? Binzel and his colleagues demonstrate that it is exactly the proximity to Earth that causes changes in the color of the meteorite parent bodies – a tidy solution to a puzzle, and it b........ Read more »

Binzel RP, Morbidelli A, Merouane S, Demeo FE, Birlan M, Vernazza P, Thomas CA, Rivkin AS, Bus SJ, & Tokunaga AT. (2010) Earth encounters as the origin of fresh surfaces on near-Earth asteroids. Nature, 463(7279), 331-4. PMID: 20090748  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 07:20 PM

Is that screaming protester really happy?

by Andrew Lyons in The Psych Student

This post looks at the study "Some Benefits of Being an Activist: Measuring Activism and Its Role in Psychological Well-Being," particularly the idea of activism causing happiness.... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 04:48 PM

Cavemen, Clinique, and Chanel No. 5

by Allison in Dormivigilia

Scientists uncovered perforated Pecten shells containing red-to-black pigments suggesting that Neanderthals were equally as materialistic... Read more »

Zilhao, J., Angelucci, D., Badal-Garcia, E., d'Errico, F., Daniel, F., Dayet, L., Douka, K., Higham, T., Martinez-Sanchez, M., Montes-Bernardez, R.... (2010) Symbolic use of marine shells and mineral pigments by Iberian Neandertals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(3), 1023-1028. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914088107  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 04:35 PM

Caution: Curves Ahead

by Wayne Hooke in The Psychology of Beauty

In my last posting, I found myself musing about how WHR would influence ratings of body attractiveness if BMI was held constant. Recent research comparing the relative roles of BMI and WHR have tended to support a more prominent role for BMI over WHR. That is, the total amount of body fat seems to matter [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 03:28 PM

A "Severe" Warning for Psychiatry

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Imagine there was a nasty disease that affected 1 in 100 people. And imagine that someone invented a drug which treated it reasonably well. Good work, surely.Now imagine that, for some reason, people decided that 10% of the population need to be taking this drug, instead of 1%. So sales of the drug sky-rocket. Eventually some clever person comes along and asks "This is one of the biggest selling drugs in the world - but does it work?" They look into it, and find that it doesn't work very well at........ Read more »

Fournier, J., DeRubeis, R., Hollon, S., Dimidjian, S., Amsterdam, J., Shelton, R., & Fawcett, J. (2010) Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity: A Patient-Level Meta-analysis. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(1), 47-53. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1943  

  • January 24, 2010
  • 01:16 PM

HIIT (on bikes) - why it results in both more fat reduction, and Spot Fat Reduction at That, too than Hearty Steady State

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

HIIT means high intensity interval protocol. But what is the best HIIT to do if you're tuning it for fat lost first, and anything else second? And does it make a difference if you're dealing with elite athletes or people who are just well enough conditioned so their hearts won't explode if you ask them to go "really hard" for a bit? Is it 60 secs on? 30 off? 60:60? The infamous tabatta on for 20 off for 10 - and remember that was not primarily a fat burning study but an ........ Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 10:37 AM

How many fish are in the ocean?

by whysharksmatter in Southern Fried Science

Any discussion of fisheries policy inevitably comes back to one question: before we can decide how many fish humans can remove from the ocean, we need to know how many fish are there in the first place. This is, without a doubt, an extremely complex problem to solve. In 1969, a Woods Hole scientist named [...]... Read more »

  • January 24, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

What Love and Attraction Smells Of

by Linda in Oz Blog No. 159

I'd read (somewhere) that bouquets of chemicals you release when you meet 'that someone' become a concoction for hell that loving feeling. (Somewhat reminds me of that wacky Sandra Bullock film Love Potion No. 9). For the first 6 months-year you release endorphins, adrenaline, oxytocin. Subsequently, you might get 'butterflies', the sweats, sleepless nights, loss of appetite etc. etc. What causes that initial attraction anyways? i find it so random. If it was just person........ Read more »

Wedekind C, Seebeck T, Bettens F, & Paepke AJ. (1995) MHC-dependent mate preferences in humans. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 260(1359), 245-9. PMID: 7630893  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 11:21 PM

The Western European Y

by Kris in Ge·knit·ics

A new study in PLoS Biology suggests one of the most common Western European Y halplogroups, R1b1b2, might have originated in Turkey and radiated into Europe with the spread of agriculture during the Neolithic.  This is significant because this haplogroup is the most frequent in Western Europe, and has been posited as a signal from [...]... Read more »

Balaresque P, Bowden GR, Adams SM, Leung HY, King TE, Rosser ZH, Goodwin J, Moisan JP, Richard C, Millward A.... (2010) A predominantly neolithic origin for European paternal lineages. PLoS biology, 8(1). PMID: 20087410  

Cinnioğlu C, King R, Kivisild T, Kalfoğlu E, Atasoy S, Cavalleri GL, Lillie AS, Roseman CC, Lin AA, Prince K.... (2004) Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia. Human genetics, 114(2), 127-48. PMID: 14586639  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 09:51 PM

The polypharmacome

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Pharmaceutical companies are always on the lookout for secondary drug targets. After all, if you invest billions developing a single drug, you would be more than happy to sell it as a treatment for two, three, or more different ailments. Sildenafil citrate was developed to treat angina and hypertension. During phase I clinical trials, it [...]... Read more »

Durrant, J., Amaro, R., Xie, L., Urbaniak, M., Ferguson, M., Haapalainen, A., Chen, Z., Di Guilmi, A., Wunder, F., Bourne, P.... (2010) A Multidimensional Strategy to Detect Polypharmacological Targets in the Absence of Structural and Sequence Homology. PLoS Computational Biology, 6(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000648  

  • January 23, 2010
  • 06:54 PM

Were the Maya noble savages?

by Thomas Kluyver in Thomas' Plant-Related Blog

Somewhere between 700 and 900 AD, the Maya civilisation in Central America seemed to collapse. Why? For some time, the conventional explanation has been deforestation. They were so efficient at chopping down trees for timber and for farmland that they got rid of the forest, and without it, the fertile soil was eroded. It’s not [...]... Read more »

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